Time to Get Out of Our Own Way. Wait, how?!

May 23, 2024

I’m Sonja.
Leadership Specialist and Creator of The Expansion Practice. Also a travel enthusiast, dog lover, fanatic for all the books (on all the subjects), and an advocate for intuition.

“Just follow your intuition,” they said. “You already have all the answers within you.”

Do I? Really??? Cause I can assure you I don’t feel like that’s always true for me. Can you relate?

If it were true, why do we still feel lost at times? Directionless? Apathetic?

Why does life / work / relationship / (insert your own here) feel so blah (technical term) in these cycles?

Oh, and my personal favorite unhelpful quip: Just get out of your own way! (really, has this helped anyone, ever?!).

If we knew how to get out of our way or to just follow our intuition, we’d be doing it.

It all sounds great in theory, but how do we do that… exactly?

We need to prepare ourselves to receive.

Would you paint your house without first power washing and priming it? Not if you want a beautiful result. We put in the work upfront preparing the house to ensure it will receive the new paint smoothly.

This work is not all that different (imperfect analogy aside). There are steps we can take to prepare our system to receive our intuition smoothly.

  • If we’re racing through our days and barely making time to use the washroom, let alone eat something, we are not going to get clarity on our life’s purpose.
  • When we are moving from one meeting or commitment to another, unsure of whether we brushed our teeth that morning, yup, not going to get a whole lot of clarity on what our next best step is.
  • You know that experience of reading something and then realizing you didn’t take in a word of it only to go back and reread it? Chances are that’s not when our intuition is going to drop in with any accuracy.

What each of these examples has in common is that we are not (yet) in a state to receive our most subtle, yet powerful, sense. Instead, we are likely in nervous system dysregulation.

If we want to ‘just follow our intuition’ we need to prepare our system to move towards regulation first. We need to discharge the stress load that has accumulated in our body so we can hold new experience, and that doesn’t happen by thinking about it. It happens when we slow down and create time to consciously regulate (specifics coming… stay with me).

My largely unconscious mantra used to be: go faster. As in, if I can only get through what’s in front of me, I’ll finally have time to slow down and think about all the things.

Did that ever work? Not in my experience. It just kept me in a state of perpetual motion. I may have slowed down but I was way too tired to do anything other than Netflix and chill. While it has its place, numbness is not regulation, just for the record.

My conscious mantra these days is: when I want to go fast, slow down.

Given the demands of our lives, many of us are in a state of dysregulation more often than not, making it difficult to discern between our intuition and our fear. You can imagine the problems this can present.

We may genuinely feel we’re following our innate wisdom when it’s our fear that’s in the driver’s seat. What we know from the science is our system is always attempting to keep us safe. Like all the time. When the nervous system detects a threat (real or perceived), it will work to bring us back to what feels ‘comfortable’ in our nervous system – not what is necessarily in our best interest. ‘Comfortable’ may be remaining distracted or busy because that’s what our system knows so well. 

When we make a change or try something new – even something as basic as slowing down – it may initially feel uncomfortable in our system and be perceived as a threat. If we’re not aware of this and attempting to regulate, change will be difficult, not to mention unsustainable. Receiving our intuition just won’t happen. 

We are always moving between states of dysregulation and regulation based on how we engage with the stress and perceived threats we encounter in our lives. Our system is always working for us but as you can see, it’s not always helpful.

We need to prepare our system so it doesn’t shut down and keep us from moving towards clarity, not to mention our goals and dreams. It is in the preparation – through regulation – that our intuition can be received (and will drop in faster and more frequently as we practice).

So how can you regulate? Here’s a primer to get you started.

Resourcing – These are all the things that help us day-to-day, such as getting enough sleep, eating nourishing food, staying hydrated, having people we can reach out to when need to talk, taking a bath, and other self-care techniques.

Horsey Lips (again, technical term) – This is the practice of blowing out the air from your closed lips to discharge stress and tension in the body. It’s easy and you can do it anywhere. I do this just about everywhere these days, especially when walking our dog. Take a deep breath and let ‘er rip. 

Shaking – This is exactly as it sounds. You can shake your hands, arms, shoulders, or your whole body. You can rock on your heels, shake out your legs, or do floppy bounces (my personal favorite). This is a terrific way to release pent up energy from your system and it feels good to do. You only need a few minutes, but you can go as long as feels comfortable, whether you are sitting or standing.

Humming, Chanting or Singing – These are all vagal toning practices, which activate the body’s relaxation response. They are easy and effective ways to move towards regulation. 

Laughing – Time to call the friends that can always get you laughing. Such good medicine and helps you move into regulation!

Breathwork – There are so many breathwork practices to try these days, and many of them are incredibly accessible. A great way to start is to inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 6, the key being to extend the exhale longer than the inhale. Place your attention on your breath as it follows the inhale and exhale. The invitation is for the breath to be slow, deep, somewhat extended (at least for the beginning of the practice), soft and light.

Regulation is a journey with no endpoint. Learning to incorporate some of these practices into our daily lives supports us to move into regulation, helping our system to discharge stress along the way (and who doesn’t have stress to let go of?). As we do, our intuition has a place to land and be received. 

✨ As you sit in the stillness that follows your practice of choice, invite your intuition in. Ask it what it wants you to know about a specific situation and notice what comes through for you. ✨

Let Me Know What You’re Thinking

Would you like to read more on this topic? Interested in a live session to play with these practices and pick up a few more? Would it be helpful to have a guided practice to discharge and regulate, along with some prompts to receive your intuition?

I’d love to hear from you! Hit reply and let me know or book a free Discovery Call with me so we can talk more.

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